On January 19, Le Salon Beige posted this short article, using Le Figaro as its source:
The Nabucco Project, a 3300 km gas pipeline (about 2050 miles), is to furnish Europe with gas from the Caspian, even from the Middle East, while avoiding Russian territory. It is expected to pass through Turkey, Bulgaria, Rumania, and Hungary, ending in Austria. The Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan today threatened to review his position on the Nabucco Project if negotiations on the admission of Turkey to the EU are blocked.
As of now, Turkey has opened 10 of the 35 thematic chapters comprising its negotiations on admission to the EU. Two of them were opened in 2008. Among the chapters not yet opened are those that deal with energy issues, mainly because of strong reservations on the part of Greek Cypriots, who entered the EU in 2004. Erdogan declared, during a conference in Brussels organized by the European Policy Center:
"If we are faced with a situation in which the chapter on energy is blocked, we will re-examine our position. The EU must be equitable in its treatment (and) ought not favor the south of Cyprus, which is far from Europe and which only contains a few hundred thousand inhabitants, (...) over Turkey and its 70 million inhabitants."
At the website of the European Policy Center, a link to the Times of Malta provides more information:
Analysts said Mr Erdogan's comments on Nabucco reflected frustration with the slow rate of progress.
"Sometimes he gets slightly carried away in the heat of the moment," said Amanda Akcakoca of the Brussels-based European Policy Centre. "Maybe he was just letting off a bit of steam over his frustration about the way the talks with Turkey are blocked unnecessarily."
"I think the prime minister wanted to raise awareness about the problems the Cyprus government poses," said Sinan Ulgen, head of the Istanbul-based Centre for Economics and Foreign Policy Studies.
Analysts say Turkey has put EU-required reforms on the back burner and view 2009 as key to rebuild momentum in the talks.
Mr Erdogan, on his first trip to the EU capital in four years, stressed Turkey was determined to boost preparations for EU accession and wanted to achieve full membership.
"Accession to the EU is a top priority," Mr Erdogan said. "I hope there will be a leap in 2009."
Mr Ulgen said Turkey had failed in recent years to put commitments to step up EU reforms into action, and it remained to be seen whether things would be any different this time.
The EU wants Ankara to reform its constitution, improve free speech, grant more rights to minorities and curb the power of the army. Mr Erdogan said Turkey was working hard on many of these reforms, including laws governing trade unions.
Mr Barroso said the EU executive fully backed Turkey's accession preparations and urged Ankara to step up reforms.
He said the launch of a Kurdish-language channel on state television and the appointment of Turkey's first full-time EU negotiator were positive steps. "In that sense the year 2009 started well," he said.
The comments from Le Salon Beige readers include this one that provides food for thought:
- Now that national preference is "contrary to human rights" (...), European preference will soon be considered as infamous.
The comment reveals the direction of the ideological drift that we are witnessing. Once individual and sovereign nations are done away with, then Europe itself must be discredited. To make way for... the Caliphate???